onthestage theatrical design
Winnipeg ’ s top artists-behind-the-artists share passion for intricate , imaginative design that brings shows to life .
Royal Winnipeg Ballet , Val Caniparoli ’ s A Cinderella Story , Costumes by Sandra Woodall , Photo by Kristen Sawatzky
While watching ballet dancers execute a triumphant lift or an actor deliver a rousing monologue , audience members are probably not thinking about lighting design . However , every aspect of performance is meticulously crafted by designers behind the scenes . Using costumes , sets , lights , sound and even puppets , artists immerse audiences in the world of make-believe , incorporating tiny details to create the cohesive and spectacular productions we love . costume
Costumes are much more than clothes . Colour , texture , shape and composition work together to convey everything from a production ’ s historical setting to a character ’ s emotional state . Costume design is particularly crucial in a play like upcoming RMTC production Orlando . Adapted for the
stage by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Kelly Thornton , Orlando ’ s protagonist travels through time exploring questions of identity . This theme excites costume designer Leanne Foley who believes “ costumes are a way to discover different selves .” In Orlando , each chorus member portrays multiple characters , constantly removing , adding or re-using pieces of clothing . When Queen Elizabeth I first shows up , the audience believes she is sitting on a throne . Soon , however , the throne is revealed to be part of her dress , which then becomes a bed ’ s headboard . Through visual transformation , Foley demonstrates that first impressions may not be true , and draws attention to the fact that “ we are all of us wearing costumes , even the audience .”
Costumes designed for ballet dancers must be visually stunning while allowing dancers complete freedom of movement . “ The dancers need to able to breathe ,” quips Alena Zharska , head of wardrobe at the RWB . Tricks like gussets added underneath armpits offer dancers a full range of bodily contortions without impairing aesthetics . The costume designer and choreographer collaborate , selecting colours and fabrics that suit the story . To achieve each precise shade desired by the costume designer , the RWB dyes its own fabrics . Creating dance costumes , Zharska says , presents a fascinating compromise between function and visual impact .
10 ciao ! / oct / nov / two thousand twenty-one